Water Bell

Greg O. Niemeyer
UC Berkeley

Water Bell (2018) is a sonification of three related streams of data. The work is site-specific. For any given city, the Water Bell seeks a years’ worth of data from, the nearest IOC sea water level monitoring station, the city’s sewage output, and the city’s daily rainfall. These three data sets describe aspects of local water circulation. All three feed a virtual carillon, which plays bells to reflect the patterns and levels of the three flows of water. Converting the data into music establishes a poetic view of the data. It may not stop the next flood or drought, but it emphasizes the interconnectedness of too much and too little. The Water Bell was presented at the Riddoch Gallery in Mt. Gambier, Australia [2018], at Data Beers in Malaga[2018], at San Jose State University, CA [2019], and at Bowdoin College, MA [2019].


Greg O. Niemeyer is a data artist and professor of media onnovation at UV Berkeley since 2001. Niemeyer co-founded the Berkeley Center for New Media, focusing on the critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences.

Greg Niemeyer’s work focuses on mediations between individuals, communities and environments. These mediations rely on data manifestations. Data manifestations are materializations of abstract data in the way people can feel. Sea water levels can become compositions for Carillons. Climate data stored in the Vostok Ice Core can become an audio tour. The myriad ways in which nodes in networks can connect to define emergent ways of life can become a gallery exhibit or a multimedia concert. Niemeyer's work includes collaborations across disciplines and media from gravure to VR, always with an eye for the poetic foundations and social implications of technical protocols.

Selected projects include Gravity (Cooper Union, NYC, 1997), PING (SFMOMA, 2001), Oxygen Flute (SJMA, 2002), Ping 2.0 (Paris, La Villette Numerique, 2004), Organum Playtest (BAMPFA 2005),  Good Morning Flowers (SFIFF 2006, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt, 2006), Maldives Pavillion (Venice Biennale, 2013), gnosisong (CCD Mexico City, 2015), //supraliminal (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2017), Sonic Web (ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2018) blackcloud.org, sevenairs.org, polartide.org, gifcollider.com, tsarbell.com and radioflux.org.